Thursday, March 30, 2023

Spear Head - Silent Night scenario played

Another outing with SH and 6mm stuff today using the 'Silent Night' scenario from Western Front book which is an encounter battle set on 25th December 1944 during Bulge.

I took Germans from 2nd Panzer Division comprising a Panther Bttn, a PzGr Regt (2 Bttns) and a Pz Jager Bttn (which could be parceled out or used as complete Bttn) and Stephen fielded his (seldom seen) US forces with 3 Armd Inf Bttns and 2 Tank Bttns.

Another excellent game with SH and one in which we saw the power and flexibility of inherent US indirect fire support platoons (neither side had an off-board artillery or air support) as his Bttns had several such stands and almost double the Germans.

As indirect fire comes first in SH this allowed Yanks to pour on some hurt causing suppression (Stephen had some really good rolls with his support stuff even if needing 11-12 on 2d6) on targets meaning they do not get to fire in later phases (the sequence of play along with shooting at like targets and target proximity rules work really well).

I keep my PzJgr as a complete Bttn as I wanted the extra manouvre element but in hindsight I may have been better attaching the Stugs and Pak40s as supports to other Bttns although this would have meant having only 3 Bttns vs 5. The scenario rule that forces German Bttns to test for running out of fuel (no further vehicular movement only pivoting) from turn 4 meant that depending on the Panther or Stugs to advance off enemy table edge was unlikely so really down to the PzGr on foot or defending the US hill objectives in a defensive posture.

We only completed 6 of scheduled 12 turns (too much waffling as usual) and things still in balance but one of PzGr Bttns was coming very close to a Morale test and Panthers stuck out of fuel so advantage with Yanks.

Great to get the venerable 6mm stuff out of boxes again with a very playable rules set.

The battlefield from German edge prior to deployments

Battle joined with Panthers pushing ahead and PzGr encountering US Tank and Armd Infantry Bttns

Panthers got no further as fuel ran out, 2nd PzGr Bttn advances on left as 2 US Armd Inf Bttns are supported by a Tank Bttn from reserve

My Stug Coys just about visible bottom of pic shored up my right but PzGr 1st Bttn is being heavily engaged by Tanks and Armd infantry.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ulster Wargames Society - Sharps Practice game 'Alas poor Heidi'

Club day again (that last month surely flew in !) and I played in a game of Sharps Practice put on by Jeremy D using his very nice early Napoleonic Austrian and French 28mm troops and terrain.

Scenario was based around an Austrian lass named Heidi who was having relations with a French officer chap (appropriately named Romeo) and for whom an Austrian force was dispatched to retrieve her (as related to some Austrian General I believe) whilst French offered resistance to such a 'rescue'. 

Bryn and Billy commanded the Hapsburg 'relief' force whilst Davy S, The other Jeremy and I controlled the defenders of the Lovebirds.

Heidi and her suitor started on table in a building/love nest with a guard of some French foot, all the Austrians and the other French would appear as their Leader cards were turned.

Hapsburgs sent a  force of several units with scaling ladders straight in the courtyard of the love nest which after a brief firefight saw Heidi and co leave by back door and a pursuit ensued thereafter (more on this later)

Rest of opposing forces deployed in due course on the open ground around the buildings and proceeded to slaughter each other with multiple rounds of volleying and fisticuffs.

However the Austrians (ie Bryn) decided to interpret order to rescue Heidi to be of the 'dead or alive' variety and fired on the group running off with her several times, this of course resulted in Heidi being put at risk and lo and behold the poor wench duly succumbed to wounds inflicted by Hapsburg musket balls !! "Bryn the misogynist !!" was the cry heard throughout the hall. 

Her demise led to Hapsburg objective being 'amended' to trying to capture her suitor no doubt in order to blame her death on the poor sod, but instead their continued shooting saw him rout of table thereby thwarting this further Hapsburg objective.

All that remained was for both sides to try to break enemy Force Morale and both dwindled to a mere 3 points before Austrians were able to inflict (due to getting Leader cards first) sufficient damage to cause 'Bad Things Happen' events that broke the French force so a draw was declared. However the Austrian General will be looking an explanation for his muse being a corpse instead of rescued, so one can only hope the story told, full of lies as it may be, is at least consistent.

This was an excellent game with some lovely kit and the scenario generated a super narrative and plenty of action. 

Austrians use scaling ladders as they try to retrieve Heidi from clutches of Romeo

French start deploying in 'plain' as Hapsburgs do same.

More Austrians appear 

My contingent form Line Formation behind a skirmish screen

The village 

More French arrive in column (note Shock accumulating and my Skirmishers mullered)

Heidi and co just visible behind building on right as chase begins

Also at club was a game based around Chinese Farm engagement in 1973 Yom Kippur war run by Paddy (with some very nice 20mm vehicles) and involving several players. No idea of rules (possibly grid based ?) but believe narrow Egyptian victory.

'The Two Daves' had a couple of 15mm FOGR games with Ottoman Turk versus Cossack (both very nice armies). Turks won second game not sure who won first encounter shown ?


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

L'Art De La Guerre two games played (and a wee tiny bit of painting)

Two games of LADG played at Stephens today using my Punic Romans (glutton for punishment) against Gauls and then Late Macedonian (Phillip V).

As ever my Romans failed to achieve very much in combat although today I had only half of the Legionaries armoured to allow use of 2 Brilliant Generals.

Big plus for LADG is being able to complete a decent game in a couple of hours and usually 2 games in our sessions.

Romans facing Gallic hordes

And lined up against Macedonians (and the sun)

Also managed to paint up some more 6mm WW2 stuff for Spearhead (really has been neglected too long) with 3 x 12cm German mortars teams 2 x PzGr companies and 3 x British infantry companies. 

The painting takes very little time really but basing (with Basetex) chews up clock a bit more as some care needed with such small chaps.  

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Regimental Fire & Fury - 1864 group game

Game with the chaps at Mr Ps today using the ever reliable and enjoyable Regimental Fire & Fury with their excellent 15mm kit and terrain.

Scenario was adapted by Mr B from a Johnny Reb scenario and is set in 1864 during Shermans campaign although I believe it is a fictional encounter.

Mr P and I took Union with Mr B taking command of our reserve (nice to see him actually get to play for once) whilst John and Le Duc led the Rebs.

Situation is Rebs in defense along a stream/river with Feds attacking with superior numbers and quality (Feds all Veteran or Crack whereas Rebs had several Green units).

Union march on in columns along roads from their table edge under long range fire of Reb guns and muskets. 

Opening salvoes from Reb guns started a trend that was to continue for both sides to an incredible unabated amount ie the rolling of 10 and going low on ammo !

I swear easily 90% of engaged units ended up low on ammo (blue chits in pics) and indeed this is first time I saw use of ammo wagons in a F&F game (Union were able to replenish a couple of batteries)

I was in command of a large veteran Union Brigade under General who was of able status who died very early on (as did one of Mr Ps) being replaced by a less able chap (ie poor status) but thankfully this did not stymie my advance much due to good Manoeuvre rolls. 

My veteran Brigade of 6 units with 3 guns (just off shot) on Union left

Mr Ps Brigade on right (Mr B had another Brigade arriving after a couple of turns)

Still it took me a full six turns to get into attacking posture ie behind a extended line 'screen' with supported units.

Once I launched my charges it was a mixed bag with my units on left forcing Rebs back then carrying a defended wall on a hill but my units on right failing against a gun battery, then forcing it to retreat before being pushed back across the river by Reb counterattack.

Overall this right wing of Reb army was pretty well mauled but still able to resist

Mr P and Mr B took longer to get into engagement range and only managed to conduct one or two charges but the Reb commanders yielded as they thought their goose was cooked (I was not so sure) with losses in stands at 35 Reb and 37 Union. 

Another great game with F&F. We played I think 8-9 turns out a scheduled 12-13.

Rebs deployed along river bank guarding three bridges/fords

My Brigade begins to deploys from march

My guns are deployed to support advancing Brigade

Brigade has assumed attack formations, Rebs on my left have been forced back from river bank to wall on hill

My assault on hill and along road goes in and is successful

But am about to be repulsed on right side of road after forcing a gun battery to retreat by a Reb counter attack

View from Reb lines just prior to my crossing river

In center and right the Brigades of Mr P and Mr B approach river line

And later assault the river line

Rebs of Le Duc defending the Confederate left wing 

General overview of battle as my initial assaults begin and rest of Union army moves up.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

'Keeping the hand in' - solo with Lasalle II and A Distant Plain

No game with Stephen this week (but Regimental Fire and Fury group game planned for weekend) so had a quick solo game of Lasalle II and A Distant Plain board wargame.

With Lasalle I played the sixth scenario from book with Prussians and French dukeing it out in 1813/14. French had 3 Young Guard infantry Brigades with Old Guard cavalry in support (17 units) whilst Prussians had three 'standard' foot brigades, a light cavalry brigade and a small brigade of Grenadiers (18 units). I do like the new Lasalle even with the very abstract Skirmisher rules (I used advanced Voltiguer rules) as it is very playable with lots of command and tactical decisions to make based around the Momentum system. Combats are pretty brutal (YG suffered horribly) but that works in the fast play realm.

Initial deployments opposite the town objective

French reserves of the OG cavalry and a YG infantry brigade

Prussian reserves, light cavalry and infantry brigades

Prussians at start

Young Guard opposite

Also got A Distant Plain to table for enjoyable go with the full scenario. Another game I really enjoy playing even solo but I just cannot seem to fathom how to best play the Afghan Government forces who always seem to 'bring up the rear'.  

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Spearhead - Bloody Bocage scenario played with 6mm

Game with Stephen with Spearhead, which is one of favourite WW2 sets and my 6mm kit both of which are neglected seldom seeing any table action (2019 last game !) although I did use them quite a lot in pre-Blog times.

As I had actually painted up (first brush work since early 2020 !) some nice Adler British Infantry I have had for years it seemed proper order to blood them.

I decided to use one of the published scenarios from the western front book entitled 'Bloody Bocage' which pits British 3rd Infantry Division with support from 27th Armoured Brigade against 21st Panzer in June 1944 in Normandy.

Essentially this is two Infantry and one Tank Battalion a side with some support Platoons. Germans getting some Engineers, and 88mm Flak and a Pak40 whilst Brits get 3 'Jabos' (these done no real damage with their bomb loads) and 60lb Artillery battery. One German PzGr Battalion was also classed as Veteran.

This was an excellent game of which we managed to play the full 12 turns and........wait for it........drum roll........ a game I actually managed to win !! not often I get to type that.

Stephen did not realise until too late that the victory conditions were such that I could win just by having a presence at game end on his half of table, even though in last turn I had 2 Battalions break (1 Infantry and the Tank Battalion) due to failed morale tests but I had 2 infantry companies on my left firmly ensconced in a field system to carry the day. 

Game played really well and we only had a couple of small queries re terrain and support shooting and considering we have not used rules for awhile this was unsurprising and we resolved them fairly quickly.

The Germans were tough especially when in cover as British usually needed a 6 just to surpress whilst Germans were able to kill Brit infantry rather easily.

The Shermans suffered from PzFaust and longer ranged PzIV fire with only the Firefly Platoons able to inflict damage on enemy PzIVs.

Spearhead is a grand tactical, broad brush approach to WW2 but it just simply works with low rules overhead and yet plausible outcomes. Lacking tactical detail of similarly scaled (1 stand = 1 Platoon) rules such as Test Of Battle but it plays much quicker.

Hopefully we will use these again in near future especially the excellent Scenario Generation system from the NZ chaps. My 6mm terrain and kit needs a bit of a re-fresh in many cases.

Hard to believe I have been using these rules since 1995 publication when they were a quite a revolutionary set, crikey I feel old..........................

The battlefield from Allied entry edge (quite stylised rendition of Normandy)

Brits advance with 2 Inf Bttns on left. German veterans defending those bloody woods

Brit infantry starting to suffer (yellow = Suppression)

British Armoured Brigade initially in Reserve on right

Brits pushing forward.

British armour 'unleashed' as Panzer IV Bttn appears (from off-table reserve)

Things getting heavy for my infantry in centre but I have occupied key fields on my left

British gaming winning high water mark on left (This Bttn was my only one to survive)

Panzer Battalion advances

Their 75mm L48 able to outreach puny Brit 75mm (18" range to 12")

Brit armour swarming around wood

Their lack of infantry support meant the PzGrs were dangerous opponents in field system

Some of the jolly nice little Adler chaps I painted up and based.